Hostage suspect appears in court

The man accused of using a rifle to take nine hostages at the Workers’ Compensation Board in Edmonton this week wept in court as his case was put over until Friday.

EDMONTON — The man accused of using a rifle to take nine hostages at the Workers’ Compensation Board in Edmonton this week wept in court as his case was put over until Friday.

Patrick Charles Clayton, 38, wiped tears from his eyes with his hands and the sleeve of his blue inmate overalls as a judge asked him if he could afford a lawyer.

“I can’t afford nothing,” Clayton said.

Clayton is charged with unlawful confinement, pointing a firearm, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public, careless use of a firearm and the use of a firearm during the commission of an offence.

The Crown told the judge that Clayton has been found medically fit to enter a plea.

A few injured workers who say they are also frustrated with the compensation board were in court to offer Clayton moral support. They say they don’t approve of anyone resorting to violence, but understand how someone could be angry because they say the board does not treat some injured workers fairly or respectfully.

“I feel sorry for people . . . that have been treated wrong,” Jack Baird said. “I’ve been on workers’ compensation for the last five years and I have never been treated more ignorantly in all my life than I have by those people.”

Edmonton police have said Clayton was determined to die on Wednesday after he somehow managed to slip through security at the WCB office with a high-powered rifle and plenty of ammunition.

After firing one shot into a wall, a man locked himself and the hostages in an office, forcing the evacuation of more than 700 people in the city’s downtown core.

He surrendered to officers following a 10-hour stand-off during which he was in contact with police hostage negotiators.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach praised police for their peaceful handling of the stand-off but said his government will review what happened and will look into security at the WCB office.

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